Friends asked to stop talking |

Friends asked to stop talking

Friends and family of Kobe Bryant’s accuser have some advice for those continuing to talk to the national media swarming all over the story: Cut it out.

“I would encourage people to not talk to the media,” said Krista Flannigan, spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office. “If they have information, they should give it to the district attorney. The district attorney is prosecuting the case, not the media.”

Flannigan said the alleged victim’s family has asked her friends to stop granting interviews and most have gone along.

“They’ve contacted some of the friends and asked them not to talk any more,” said Flannigan. “Several interviews were cancelled yesterday.”

The mother of one of the alleged victim’s friends said it bluntly: “These kids are not helping,” she said. “It’s time for these kids to stop talking, or it’s time for their parents to make them stop talking.”

Most of the faux pas and gaffs reach District Attorney Mark Hurlbert, who is prosecuting the case. He also hears the swirling rumors about the alleged victim and Bryant.

“Friends and so-called friends are apt to say just about anything,” said Hurlbert.

So far, “friends” have discussed with the media the victim’s problems before she was allegedly assaulted by Bryant and some of her outings afterward.

“If they’re “friends’ who are talking, you might want to question their validity,” said Flannigan.

Flannigan said local people have good intentions in trying to support the family and the victim, but the media is savvy.

“People can ask, “How this is going to be used?’ They have a right to know,” said Flannigan. “Usually, though, if they’re asked a question, they answer it.”

But you don’t have to, Flannigan said.

“The safety and well being of the victim are our utmost concern,” said Flannigan. “Our other priority is to maintain Eagle as a viable trial site. We have to be concerned with it as a venue.”

Hurlbert said during last Friday’s press conference to announce the charges against Bryant that because the crime was committed in Eagle County, the people of Eagle County have the right to have the trial here.

Not her first frenzy

For Flannigan, a parking lot full of television trucks and rooms full of reporters are not the latest things. She was the media coordinator for the Columbine High School massacre and the Oklahoma City bombing.

“After Columbine, this became an issue,” she said, referring to teen-agers being targeted by the media.

When a student gunman killed students at Santee High School in southern California, students went looking for reporters to talk to.

“Kids were all over the media wanting to give their speculation,” she said.

Physical evidence

The woman who accused Kobe Bryant of sexually assaulting her had “visible evidence” of the alleged attack a week later, one of her friends said Tuesday.

Luke Bray, 21, declined to be more specific out of respect for his friend and her family.

“There is visible evidence of what happened,” he said.

Eagle County sheriff’s spokeswoman Kim Andree declined comment on Bray’s statement. Neither prosecutor Mark Hurlbert nor Bryant’s attorneys returned telephone messages seeking comment.

Hurlbert has said he believes he has enough physical and testimonial evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The 24-year-old Bryant was charged with one count of sexually assaulting the concierge at an exclusive mountain resort last month. He said the sex was consensual and that he only committed adultery.

The Los Angeles Lakers star is free on bond pending an Aug. 6 court hearing during which he will be formally advised of the charge against him.

Vacation stories

A few Eagle County young people have been jetted to both coasts to appear on national network programs. Casey Strickler and Rachel Yandle were flown to New York City for NBC’s Today Show. Fox News flew Luke and Starla Bray to California for a sit-down interview and some California dreamin’.

The National Enquirer offered Lindsey McKinney $12,500 for her story. She turned them down, but regretted answering an Orange County Register reporter’s questions earlier.

One Eagle teen-ager was offered a trip to New York City to be on camera when the charges were filed, but declined.

Wrong identification

Web sites have been plastering the alleged victim’s information and photos all over the Internet. At least three Web sites, though, have identified the wrong woman.

The wrongly identified woman is also from Eagle County and has the same first name. Her photograph was posted as a member of a local high school dance team and cheerleading squad.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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